OPEC deal elusive as meeting nears

VIENNA, November 29, 2016 – Oil markets remained jittery Tuesday as a long-awaited meeting between OPEC and non-OPEC producers neared and several key participants expressed doubts about a production-cut deal that has been in the works since September.

While much of the speculation in the run-up to Wednesday’s meeting has been focused on producers that are not OPEC members, such as Russia, which has been seeking to freeze rather than cut its output, in recent days it has been cracks inside the cartel that have rekindled doubts about whether a deal would either be reached or implemented properly.

 

OPEC’s first-, second- and third-largest producers, Saudi Arabia, Iran and Iraq respectively, remained at odds on Tuesday how much each should cut, world media reported. Meanwhile Indonesia also said it hasn’t yet decided whether it would join in a deal, and several buyers in Asia claimed they would look for supplies elsewhere if OPEC agreed to raise prices.

“We are closely monitoring the OPEC meeting,” a representative of the South Korean refiner SK Innovation told Reuters. “Even if OPEC cuts output, it won’t have a big impact [on SK Innovation business] as there are a lot of supplies out there.”

Oil prices fell some 3% on Tuesday over the news, Reuters reported.

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